Uniondale, NY – It has been nearly two years since Al Montoya has started as a goalkeeper in the National Hockey League. The keeper continues to shine in helping to lead the Islanders (22-30-7) to a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings (32-23-4) in hockey action on Saturday night.
“We came out in the first period wanting to win this game and we showed that,” Montoya said. “They came out and tried to regain that momentum in the second, but he we held our ground and took care of business.”
Montoya likes what he is seeing so far on the Island as he was able to get two goals from winger Matt Moulson along with a goal from Frans Nielsen to help cap the victory. New York has now won six of the last 10 games they played in February.
“This team can score goals, and as a goalie that is awesome. You know as a goalie if you make a save here or there, they will put a couple in the net and that is all you need.” Montoya said. “I am taking things day-by-day for right now. I appreciate the chance that has been given to me, and I am going to go out there every night and leave it all on the ice again.”
Capuano was impressed so far saying, “To me he took care of the puck and controlled his rebounds. His goalie touches for the most part were good. He communicated well back there. He helped us on the breakout tonight, and made the saves when he had to make them.”
The first star of the game was impressive, making 35 saves for his second career shutout since April 9, 2009. Of course the victory would not be complete without better defensive play by the Islanders, including the play of Travis Hamonic in the defensive zone.
New York got on the board first as center Frans Nielsen (7) tallied a short-handed goal at the 5:01 mark in the first period of play. Nielsen was able to get a perfect dish from Michael Grabner, who earlier on stole the puck from Los Angeles.
Nielsen would have this to say of the goal, “It is fun to score. I don’t get too many of them. Grabner has a lot of them now, so it is nice that it is finally my turn.” He would continue by saying, “It is always nice to get the first one. I think we played well and we worked hard. Al played well in net today; he had some big saves that kind of gave us momentum and energy on the bench.”
One of Montoya’s biggest saves of the night was a beautiful snow angel with 3:11 left in the second period, denying Kings winger Justin Williams of a goal. It was a huge momentum builder for New York as that save would stop Los Angeles from taking advantage of a power play opportunity.
“Yeah, I fell on my back and just said ‘hallelujah.’ I remember that one,” Montoya said. “That was nice, but the team made it pretty easy. I might have made a couple of saves look tough, but for the most part it was just everything from the outside. The guys let me see everything and that doesn’t happen every night.”
It then became the Matt Moulson show, as the winger was able to score family bragging rights against his brother-in-law Jonathan Quick, who just so happens to be in the cage for the Kings. Moulson (22) got his first of the game at the 6:54 mark of the second period of play, before capping the night off (23) at the 13:40 mark of the third.
“It was lucky to get a couple on him,” Moulson said. “We had dinner on Friday, he wouldn’t let me cook. He thought I would put something in there.” He would continue to say, “We did a good job with our forecheck today. As of late we have not been satisfied with being stopped and we are doing whatever it takes to win.”
New York looks to win its seventh game this month as they host the Florida Panthers for a 1:00 p.m. face off on Presidents’ Day.